Native salt marsh mangrove plant growth.
The Thousand Islands are a group of natural, modified, and spoil islands in the Banana River Lagoon, Cocoa Beach, in Brevard County, Florida. From the late 1950s to the early 1970s the islands were reshaped by development and efforts to control mosquitoes as the population of Brevard grew during the initial period of the space program at Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center.
The State of Florida bought the Thousand Islands in 1988. It leased them back to the City of Cocoa Beach in 1991, providing that the islands be used for recreation and conservational efforts. The total price was $3,230,950. The city contributed $1,615,475, Brevard County contributed $700,000, and the State of Florida contributed $915,475.
Sediment cores reveal that the Thousand Islands were formed when a storm-driven sea broke through the barrier island, leaving behind an approximately 900 acres (360 ha) flood tide delta deposit. The date of this event is unknown. Charts from the mid 19th century and older do not depict the Thousand Islands.[ citation needed ] However, this might be due to lack of detail. The Cocoa Beach area was surveyed in 1876-1877 and appears identical to the 1951 aerial photographs.
The stratigraphic characteristics of a flood tide delta deposit include the existence of a layer of plain sand (often containing terrestrial vegetation debris) sandwiched between sediments containing numerous small bivalve mollusc shells that are indicative of deposition in a normal lagoon environment.[ clarification needed ] This uneven sand layer lacking shells suggests an interruption in the normal accretion of benthic sediments by a rapid deposition of dune material being washed in by severe wave action.
There are about 100 islands in the Thousand Islands,The actual number of islands is meaningless due to the inundation of many areas during seasonal high water during summer. The relatively low topography and rising water levels can turn one island into many as rains begin.
The Thousand Islands are divided roughly in half by the Minutemen Causeway. The formation comprises approximately 900 acres (360 ha) of salt marsh, mangroves, spoil sites containing upland vegetation, and maritime hammocks on shell middens. Beginning in the late 1950s, small ditches were dug through the islands to allow water movement and fish access to inner areas of the succulent marsh for mosquito control.
At approximately the same time, dredge and fill activities were begun in Cocoa Beach for housing development. Developers dredged canals and used the spoil to provide fill material for houses. Several areas of the Thousand Islands were filled but not fully developed, leaving large areas of uplands. During the late 1960s Brevard County Mosquito Control began dredging the Thousand Islands south of Minutemen Causeway, resulting in conversion of salt marsh to upland dredge spoil with the state-owned C-34 impoundment.
Native wetlands are dominated by red, black, and white mangroves. [ citation needed ]Succulent marsh contains saltwort, annual glasswort, perennial glasswort, sea blight, and shoreline seapurslane.
The transition zone between salt marsh and upland is dominated by bushy seaside oxeye ( Borrichia frutescens (L.) DC.) and buttonwood ( Conocarpus erectus L.). Transition areas dominated by graminoid vegetation contain saltgrass ( Distichlis spicata (L.) Greene) and seashore paspalum ( Paspalum vaginatum Sw.).
Uplands have been colonized by several native plant species, including Florida swamp privet ( Forestiera segregata (Jacq.) Krug & Urb.), salt bush ( Baccharis halimifolia L.), cabbage palm ( Sabal palmetto (Walter) Lodd. ex Shult. & Schult. f.), wax myrtle ( Myrica cerifera L.), and strangler fig ( Ficus aurea Nutt.).
Principal invasive non-native plants include Brazilian pepper ( Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi), Australian pines ( Casuarina equisetifolia L., Casuarina glauca Sieber ex Spreng.), and carrotwood ( Cupaniopsis anacardioides (A. Rich.) Radlk.). All are Category I invasives, "...altering native plant communities by displacing native species, changing community structures or ecological functions..."
Pre-Columbian shell middens are present in four main areas of the Thousand Islands.[ citation needed ]
The state of Florida and Cocoa Beach purchased the islands north of Minutemen Causeway in 1988. Acquisition of the remaining south islands was completed by 2007. These islands are managed as the Thousand Islands Conservation Area by Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program. Efforts to acquire the remaining privately held islands began in 2006 with acquisition of the Reynolds tract, and were completed in 2007 with acquisition of the Crawford Homes tract by the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program (EEL).
Restoration efforts involve removal of Brazilian pepper and Australian pine. Despite the Category I status of Australian pine, [ citation needed ] The management plan for the north Thousand Islands is currently (April 2013) under revision.removal of trees in ecological restoration can be controversial among the lay public. In the EEL-managed Thousand Islands Conservation Area, replanting has been used following removal of Australian pine, but the effects are modest, with native recruitment out-pacing planted species.
Brevard County is located in the east central portion of the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 543,376, making it the 10th most populated county in Florida. The official county seat has been located in Titusville since 1894. Brevard County comprises the Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located along the east Florida coast and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean.
Cocoa Beach is a city in Brevard County, Florida. The population was 11,539 at the 2018 United States Census. It is part of the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Merritt Island is a census-designated place (CDP) in Brevard County, Florida, United States, located on the eastern Floridian coast, along the Atlantic Ocean. The population was 34,743 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. The name "Merritt Island" also refers to the extent of the peninsula, misnamed an "island".
Satellite Beach is a coastal city in Brevard County, Florida. The population was 10,109 at the 2010 United States Census, and it is located with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Indian River to the west.
Long Island Sound is a tidal estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, lying predominantly between the U.S. state of Connecticut to the north, and Long Island in New York to the south. From west to east, the sound stretches 110 mi (180 km) from the East River in New York City, along the North Shore of Long Island, to Block Island Sound. A mix of freshwater from tributaries and saltwater from the ocean, Long Island Sound is 21 mi (34 km) at its widest point and varies in depth from 65 to 230 feet.
A salt marsh or saltmarsh, also known as a coastal salt marsh or a tidal marsh, is a coastal ecosystem in the upper coastal intertidal zone between land and open saltwater or brackish water that is regularly flooded by the tides. It is dominated by dense stands of salt-tolerant plants such as herbs, grasses, or low shrubs. These plants are terrestrial in origin and are essential to the stability of the salt marsh in trapping and binding sediments. Salt marshes play a large role in the aquatic food web and the delivery of nutrients to coastal waters. They also support terrestrial animals and provide coastal protection.
The Space Coast is a region in the U.S. state of Florida around the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. All of NASA-launched crewed spaceflights have departed from either KSC or Cape Canaveral. The Air Force Station has also launched unmanned military and civilian rockets. Cities in the area include Titusville, Cocoa, Rockledge, Cape Canaveral, Merritt Island (unincorporated), Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Indialantic, Palm Bay, and Viera (unincorporated). Most of the area lies within Brevard County. It is bounded on the south by the Treasure Coast, on the west and north by Central Florida, and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is a 140,000 acres (57,000 ha) U.S. National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on the Atlantic coast of Florida's largest barrier island. NASA's Kennedy Space Center and visitor complex are also situated on the island and NASA can restrict access to the refuge based on its operational needs.
Merritt Island Airport is a general aviation public airport under the administration of the Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority. It located in Merritt Island, Brevard County, Florida, USA, northwest of Patrick Space Force Base.
The Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge (LSNWR) is part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System. It is located in southeastern Dixie and northwestern Levy counties on the western coast of Florida, approximately fifty miles southwest of the city of Gainesville.
The Merritt Island Causeway, mostly in Merritt Island, connects Cocoa, Merritt Island, Florida, and Cocoa Beach, Florida. The causeway transits the Willard Peebles bridge over the Banana River Lagoon. In the 1960s, SR A1A was routed over the eastern causeway from present day SR 520 and SR A1A, to the present day intersection of SR 520 and SR 3 on Merritt Island. The eastern section is known as the Cocoa Beach Causeway.
Hammock is a term used in the southeastern United States for stands of trees, usually hardwood, that form an ecological island in a contrasting ecosystem. Hammocks grow on elevated areas, often just a few inches high, surrounded by wetlands that are too wet to support them. The term hammock is also applied to stands of hardwood trees growing on slopes between wetlands and drier uplands supporting a mixed or coniferous forest. Types of hammocks found in the United States include tropical hardwood hammocks, temperate hardwood hammocks, and maritime or coastal hammocks. Hammocks are also often classified as hydric, mesic or xeric. The types are not exclusive, but often grade into each other.
The Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife refuge encompassing 965 acres (3.91 km2) located in the California coastal community of Seal Beach. Although it is located in Orange County it is included as part of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex. It was established in 1972.
Environmental issues in Brevard County in Florida United States are highlighted by the amount of waterline, the amount of wetlands, the quantity of residents and visitors to the area, as well as the usual threat to air quality from commuters. Assisting in this is the Florida Space Coast Clean Cities Coalition which headquartered in Brevard. It encompasses a nine-county area.
Joseph Horatio Wickham (1911-2000) was a prominent Brevard County, Florida politician serving on the County Commission from 1952 to 1964 and from 1972 to 1984. Wickham’s most notable achievements were securing rights of way for many of the county's current roadways, and establishing a permanent mosquito control program. One of these roads is Wickham Road.
San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve is one of the largest remaining coastal wetlands in San Diego County, California, United States.
Tropical hardwood hammocks are closed canopy forests, dominated by a diverse assemblage of evergreen and semi-deciduous tree and shrub species, mostly of West Indian origin. Tropical hardwood hammocks are found in South Florida or the Everglades, with large concentrations on the Miami Rock Ridge, in the Florida Keys, along the northern shores of Florida Bay, and in the Pinecrest region of the Big Cypress Swamp.
Environmentally Endangered Lands abbreviated as EEL is a land conservation program in Brevard County, Florida. Established in 1990, the program is funded by voter approved tax dollars. It is intended to conserve natural habitats and environmentally sensitive lands for "conservation, passive recreation, and environmental education". In 2004 a second referendum for land via a willing seller program was also passed. The program leverages its funding with partners from federal, state and local agencies. The lands are then "managed to preserve native habitats and the plants and animals that live there."
Living shorelines are a relatively new approach for addressing shoreline erosion and protecting marsh areas. Unlike traditional structures such as bulkheads or seawalls that worsen erosion, living shorelines incorporate as many natural elements as possible which create more effective buffers in absorbing wave energy and protecting against shoreline erosion. The process of creating a living shoreline is referred to as soft engineering, which utilizes techniques that incorporate ecological principles in shoreline stabilization. The natural materials used in the construction of living shorelines create and maintain valuable habitats. Structural and organic materials commonly used in the construction of living shorelines include sand, wetland plants, sand fill, oyster reefs, submerged aquatic vegetation, stones and coir fiber logs.
The C-34 Mosquito Impoundment Project was a collaboration in the Thousand Islands during the 1970s between Brevard County Mosquito Control, The Florida Medical Entomological Laboratory, and NASA. This project was conducted to test the ability of remote sensing to detect flooding stress in mangroves during flooding for mosquito control.
Plant nomenclature follows Wunderlin, R. P. & B. F. Hansen. (2011). Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida, 3rd Edition. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.